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ACC Roundup - Heels Fall On The Road (Again)

This UNC team is not showing a lot away from home.

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North Carolina v Virginia Tech
BLACKSBURG, VA - JANUARY 22: Nickeil Alexander-Walker #4 of the Virginia Tech Hokies looks to pass against Cameron Johnson #13 of the North Carolina Tar Heels in the second half at Cassell Coliseum on January 22, 2018 in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Photo by Lauren Rakes/Getty Images

On Monday night, Virginia Tech got its swagger back and ran past UNC 80-69.

It was a close game into the second half but at a certain point it clearly became Va. Tech’s game to lose.

That team we saw earlier which used threes like a stiletto? They’re back.

Desperation, as we’v noted before, plays a role. The Hokies needed a big win for credibility.

After the game, Jason Williams pretty much eviscerated UNC, calling them lazy among other things. We’ve said before this is a flawed team but one with a heart. Now even that’s been questioned.

He’s right but the Hokies played well a point Ol’ Roy Williams conceded: “They were more aggressive. They were into it more. I thought their sense of urgency was much greater than ours.”

Urgency, despair. Same basic idea.

UNC could use some. Out of four road games so far, the Tar Heels have lost three and one at Notre Dame by one when the Irish just couldn’t buy a basket at the end.

As we noted Sunday, Clemson may have lost two seasons in one day: first this year when Donte Grantham blew his knee out and then later that night the next when Zion Williamson stunned everyone by picking Duke when Clemson had long been seen as the favorites.

That’s speculative of course but he would’ve been huge in Tiger town.

Grantham is not. His injury is real and the loss is significant. So what will Clemson do?

Coach Brad Brownell says he’ll turn to freshman Aamir Simms and junior David Skara to fill the void. It’s a step down from Grantham but you never know. Clemson might have a surprise star on the bench. Or maybe they can just patch things up enough to continue to play well.

We’ll have some idea Tuesday as Clemson visits Virginia. That would’v been a difficult game with Grantham. Without him? It’s a stretch, although, as Dean Smith used to remind, a team can overcome the loss of a player for a game or two. After that emotional response, reality tends to set in.

We were impressed that Wake Forest managed to score in small bursts against Virginia. It’s not easy to do. Could Clemson binge on three pointers?

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